Don't Kill The Mellinger

Twitter Tuesday: Ryan Braun is slime, the Royals are (not) making the playoffs, athletes taunting fans, the Royal baby, the Chiefs are in good shape, Kung Pow, furnishing your first bachelor pad, and Bill Snyder is picked sixth?

Updated: 2013-07-23T16:26:36Z

By SAM MELLINGER

The Kansas City Star

Ryan Braun is a liar, a cheat, an untrustworthy slime who is getting off relatively light even with a 65-game suspension and the loss of some $3 million in salary. That penalty — not to mention the knock on his reputation, impossible to earn back fully — is a reminder that the biggest crime isn’t what you’re caught doing, it’s what you do to cover up what you’re caught doing.

There’s an old line, I remember hearing it from a teacher: if you confess what you’ve done it becomes part of your past; if you lie it becomes part of your future.

We all know that SOME athletes — in ALL sports — use performing-enhancing drugs. That will always be the case, so long as the incentives of money and fame and power are there. For the most part, I think we can all understand why it happens, and move on. Look at Andy Pettitte. But if you lie and go into full-on self-righteousness, exploiting an otherwise anonymous man’s innocent mistake along the way, then screw you.

This week’s reading recommendation is about a 99-year-old Florida man who wakes up at 3:30 in the morning to go to work three times a week. The eating recommendation is the burnt ends at Smokin’ Guns. Good, not great.

As always, thanks for your help and for reading. Let’s get to it:

@ Kauffert What would have to be the # Royals record in the second half to make the playoffs?

The Tigers are 54-44, and if you look at their run differential and a few other indicators they should be better than that. I would guess they’re headed for about 92 wins, maybe more. The moment’s second wild card leader (Baltimore) projects around that same spot.

So if we decide that 92 wins (at least) will be needed to make the playoffs, that means the Royals will need to finish the season 47-19.

Also: the Royals aren’t finishing 47-19.

@ KansasCityJSal If GMDM were Dorothy, how pissed off would the munchkins be when they saw he didnt take their advice # FollowTheYellowBrickRd # Oz

Someone took my call for nonsense quite seriously.

@ truechief10 what is the food of choice when going to # Chiefs training camp?

A Clif Bar that I stuff in my backpack, and try to remember to eat before it melts.

@ Thuettenmueller Ketchup, mustard, or relish?

@ JWalker_26 Ketchup, mustard or relish? # TwitterTuesday

What a weird question for two people to ask.

Weird because the obvious answer is relish.

@ brentbeats When was the last time you told someone they were dead meat? # TT

Ballpark guess, 1987. Other popular phrases from 1987 Sam:

Your ass is grass and I’m a lawn mower.

I know you are but what am I?

Yeah? Well, I TRIPLE dog dare you!

Hey, you wanna play Super Mario Bros?

@ Connor_Schultz is Greg Holland the best closer in the game? # TwitterTuesday

You can make a case. He’s now struck out 61 of the 140 batters he’s faced, an absurd 44 percent. He’s saved 24 of 26 chances, and big league hitters — men who generally make a lot of money because they’re good at hitting — are at .169/.232/.262 against him.

This is cheating the numbers, but ever since the team left Philadelphia he has struck out 58 and allowed 25 baserunners in 35 innings.

So you can make that case. But Joe Nathan has saved 30 of 31 chances and is allowing an OPS even lower (.435) than Holland (.494).

But, really, this kind of argument is a bit silly when Mariano Rivera is still out there pitching.

@ TbobSmith If you were to start a restaurant/bar, what kind of food/beverages would be served, and what’s the atmosphere like? # tt

It’d be a comfortable dive bar. We’d have good beer, but wouldn’t be a boutique kind of beer bar. We’d have some sort of snack at the bar — ideally whatever it is they give you at Harry’s Country Club — and games on the TVs but without sound. We’d play classic rock and blues and stuff you get when you put the Black Keys or Patrick Sweany in Pandora, but I’d look into having an old-school hip-hop night. We’d have a signature food item, something basic like wings or pizza or nachos, and an old Pop-A-Shot machine. We’d sell cigars, and have a good outdoor area.

Basically, it would be a mash-up of my favorite things about my favorite bars. If it bombed financially, at least I’d like it.

@ PhilGarver Which is dumber: Not picking KU to win the Big12 in bball or picking a Bill Snyder coached team to finish sixth? # TT

There is an argument for K-State being sixth in the conference. It basically hinges on the Big 12 having six teams good enough for a first-place vote in the preseason poll, and Bill Snyder’s rather ordinary record when he doesn’t return his starting quarterback.

In 2010, the last time Collin Klein wasn’t Collin F. Klein, the Wildcats had Carson Coffman at quarterback and went 7-6, tied for, um, sixth in the Big 12. The year before that, Coffman and Grant Gregory split time at quarterback and the Wildcats went 6-6. So there’s an argument.

K-State had one of the most successful seasons in school history, but this is a rebuild. They only have eight starters back. Three of them are studs — John Hubert, Tyler Lockett, Ty Zimmerman — but that’s a lot to replace.

All that can be refuted with this: c’mon, man. It’s Bill Snyder. NOBODY has a stud quarterback. The league is wide open. He’ll be better than sixth.

@ MrBenMcGuire A ridiculous work ethic, unwavering humility, and unprecedented success: Seriously, how can anyone not love Bill Snyder?

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t at least respect the man. He’s everything you’d want in a coach, save some entertaining sound bites or whatever. He’ll always be beloved by K-State fans for a million reasons, of course, most notably that he saved a town and a football team twice. But I’ve always thought that if I were a K-State fan, the thing that would connect me so strongly with Snyder is the way he talks about the people at K-State and the larger university.

I wish the link on our website to that column was still active, because the last section encapsulates it pretty well. I’ll copy and paste from the Word file:

Catch him in the right mood, and Bill Snyder will tell the story of why he decided to coach the worst football program in America. This was during his interview, December of 1988 and it’s bitterly cold.

Snyder asks to be left in the middle of campus, outside, for an hour or so. He guesses he stopped 40 or 50 people. He didn’t know any of them, and he didn’t tell anybody why he was there. He just wanted to talk. Random stuff. Small talk. Sometimes he asked for directions, sometimes he just asked how they liked it here.

Every single person Snyder approached stopped in the freezing cold to talk to a complete stranger, so when the hour was up he said he’d do it. Random, unwitting and kind K-Staters convinced Snyder to come try to make magic. He wanted to be part of that, and neither coach nor community has been the same since.

Together they grow, in beautiful symphony.

The only people I could see not liking Snyder are fans of K-State’s rival. Then again …

@ davidembers is KU/KSU even a rivalry? One nearly always wins football, the other, basketball.... Is it a rivalry if you know the outcome?

… this is an excellent point.

@ TommyRoseville Why is it so damn hot out? Mother Nature is rubbing salt in the wounds of Royals fans # TT

I’m a prolific and at times embarrassing sweater. It’s a problem for me. I mean, let’s keep “problem” in proper perspective, but it’s awkward this time of year interviewing someone while sweating and knowing they probably think you’re nervous or maybe it’s the Kung Pow …

… when in reality you just sweat like a pig. So this is the time of year where I sort of resign myself that I will sweat while doing nothing more than sitting in the shade. I guess it makes the winter that much better.

@ msmittty12 who are your biggest twitter hecklers/critics? # twittertuesday

I’ve only blocked one person. Or, at least, I should say I’ve only blocked one person on purpose. Once, I noticed I had my man Rustin Dodd blocked somehow. So, I should say that I’ve only blocked one person on purpose. I won’t mention his name here, because from what I can tell he honestly seems like a despicable human being.

@ swedd24 if you had to pick one Black Keys song to play for someone who had never heard of them before, what would it be? # TwitterTuesday

I’ve always thought that Thickfreakness isn’t my favorite Keys song, but everything I love about the Keys is in that song.

@ pchpaman What is your take on GMJD? VG’s piece made him seem hyper zealous. You know who else was enthusiastic and energetic? Trey Hillman

Trey actually made me rethink a theory I always had, that if you find someone who is smart and obsessively passionate about what they’re doing, you can ignore a lot of other faults and expect them to succeed.

Trey just had so many other damn faults, faults that were prohibitive for a real big league manager.

And … I’m not sure I see the similarities with Dorsey. I don’t know if Dorsey will be a great general manager or not. Dorsey was a well-respected No. 2 in a successful organization, so on the surface it makes perfect sense, but the Chiefs just fired a guy like that and the Royals are behind schedule with a guy like that. So you never know.

But what I like about Dorsey is he’s smart, hard-working, dedicated, all the good things you want but he also doesn’t think he has all the answers. He wants help. Asks for help. Wants to involve the people who work for him, which I’ve always thought is something that makes those people better, helps create a better environment.

I don’t know Dorsey incredibly well yet, and we’re still in the embryonic stages of his time here. Who knows. What we’re talking about above, and any other descriptions I could give you of him are all peripheral things, indicators rather than root causes. What matters more than anything are the personnel decisions he and Andy Reid make.

Scott Pioli could’ve been a raging jerk to everyone he met, told the janitor to give him 20 pushups for every missed candy wrapper, but if he had been as good in the draft as he was bad, and instead of Matt Cassel brought in a good quarterback … well, he’d probably be starting year five right now.

@ easz88 # TT Do you think Bob Dutton is trying to squeeze in on your act? http://bit.ly/1bX3klz

Dutton can do what he likes. He always gives me crap when I say this, but I have as much respect for him as anyone I know in this business. If he wanted to start giving restaurant recommendations at the top of his deal, grow his hair out until he looked ridiculous, and then slap me across the face I would say thank you.

@ Typical_Chazz Just got my first place of my own in KC, in West Plaza. What are some must-haves for the bachelor pad? # tt

See this? Now this is nice …

@ Typical_Chazz Which ability would get you the most chicks: being a good singer, dancer, or guitar player? # tt

… Chazz here has the right idea. Got a place in a good part of town, and is basically asking how to get the most chicks with it. Now, we can all get caught up in the (opposite of) wisdom he is showing by asking me here, or we can all get together and help this young man out.

Chazz. Here’s what you need. A comfortable couch, wifi, one good frying pan, some candles, a bottle of wine, some microwave dinners, and comfort making at least one good dinner and one good breakfast.

And it depends on the situation, but overall, being a good dancer never hurt anybody^.

^ Or so I’ve heard.

@ canglem You seem like you’re a fairly chill guy. Is there anyone or anything that just makes you irrationally angry?

The Smokeshow isn’t around. She’d be the better one to answer this, but here’s what comes to mind: intentional jerkdom, guys at the gym who draw out their three sets of arm curls like they’re Mr. Universe, cruelty to animals, and people who think their opinion is the ONLY opinion.

@ RoyalsFreeOut What would your intro/outro music be on your hypothetical podcast?

Boom…

@ Rethmeyer You open a @ Boulevard_Beer sampler pack, which bottle is the last to go/pawned off to your friends? # OperationRemoveBully

See, I’m not a big sampler pack guy. I want to like every beer in my house, and with Boulevard, I like, say, Pale Ale WAY more than the others. You bring up a point with the Bully. I like it, but if it’s sitting next to a Tank 7 or Mirror Pond or Widmer Black IPA — just to name three — then I don’t even notice the Bully.

Drink well, not often.

@ easz88 So Sam, it’s been a week now. I know you said you weren’t a Twinkies man, but you went and had one anyway, right? # FriedTwinkies

I’m impervious to peer pressure, you guys^.

^ Not really.

@ d_nadler Had my first Tank 7 today. Thank you for that. What’s next? # tt

Ah, you have done well, grasshopper. If you can find a Saisson-Brett, go there. If not, find a St. Bernardus Abt 12.

@ Aye_Bay_Bayless what’s your view on athletes taunting fans who heckle? I’ve read Kei Kamara did “excess” celebrating on Sat. I think its great!

Lots of factors involved here, but here’s a strict personal policy: I always forgive funny.

If an athlete taunts opposing fans in a way that makes me laugh — a personal favorite is an outfielder holding his glove on his ass, opening and closing it, like, yap-yap-yap-yap-yap — then it gets my full endorsement. Fans heckle athletes all the time, and the whole I-bought-a-ticket-and-that-guy’s-making-a-million-dollars thing only goes so far.

Also, in general, I think sports could use more celebrations and genuine, un-choreographed emotion. Especially the NFL and major league baseball.

@ CliffJudy Peanut waitress recommended oven wing reheating @ 425°. Has led to intentional over-ordering to ensure leftovers. Tried this? # TT

No. I’m rather speechless. I’m not sure I’ve ever left a wing. Maybe I have and I’ve just blocked the experience to save my self-esteem. But really? I’ve never thought of taking them home. Have you tried this? Please report back with details.

@ Rheff7 Another thing. When is Cain gonna get recognized for being a fantastic center fielder? He’s top 5 in almost all def. metrics # TT

Oh, I think people recognize him as being a very good defensive player. You don’t? That catch last night was absurd, even if he didn’t cover anything close to 75 yards. When the Royals go left to right, Gordon-Dyson-Cain, that’s as good as any outfield in baseball, I would think.

The problem, of course, is that Wade Davis gives up enough missiles those guys can’t catch and that the Royals still stink offensively.

@ bvaughnMO I’m still here: “...please just give us a team that doesn’t make me feel shame and anger.

Noted.

@ torejackson The wave - now sponsored at The K. Your thoughts? # TT

I prefer to pretend that didn’t happen, thank you.

@ Fawkesquez If the Gonzalez twins turn out to be the Anna Kournikova of women’s bball, would that be good/bad/indifferent for KU program? # TT

Shhh! (Waiting to see how KU handles this, and the message it sends…)

@ Royal_Heritage Had any response from the front office to your Dayton Moore column?

Yeah. Whenever you’re critical, if you care about being fair, you want to give the other side a chance to respond. Sometimes that’s directly, with a call or text, sometimes you have to leave a message with a spokesman. No different than when I’ve been critical of KU or MU or Scott Pioli or anyone else.

Went out to the ballpark on Sunday to see if anyone wanted to yell at me. Nothing doing. But, later in the day, had a couple conversations that I’ll keep private except that all agreed what was in the paper was accurate.

In other places, reaction essentially fell into two camps. One was that it’s premature, that if we’re following the Terry Ryan Twins’ model — and for all the talk about Atlanta, this has always been the one held up internally by Royals’ executives — this is the year Minnesota won 85 games (not the division) so shouldn’t you let the season play out before getting all pissy?

The second camp was, basically, why didn’t you call for the whole lot of these losers to be fired?

Like this:

@ gavinesq # TT How is it that you can lay out such a clear case for Moore’s termination and then not call for his, y’know, TERMINATION?

I just don’t think it’s quite time … yet. I expected the Royals to win about 83 or so games this year. Above .500, but not a playoff team. I think that’s, generally, what most expected. Some were higher, into the mid or even upper 80s. I know some were lower, into the mid or upper 70s.

But to maintain pace with what the Twins did, the Royals would need to be above .500 and show genuine progress. If you fire Dayton Inc. right now, you’re basically firing a guy for the sin of not winning enough in the first 95 games of a season you didn’t expect to end in the playoffs anyway.

You can make that case, and if David Glass woke up tomorrow and decided to fire Dayton he could base it on logic and reason. I just want to see how the rest of this season plays out, at least. I get the feeling that at least some of that “second camp” of reaction is people who want Dayton fired and were disappointed that’s not how the column ended.

Which is fine.

If you want to read opinions that Dayton Inc. should be fired yesterday, there is plenty of that out there. My column was a bit of a warning shot at Dayton Inc. They’ve been spouting this “8-10 years” thing way too much, and hanging onto this “remember how crappy the organization was when we took over” thing way too long. They needed to be told to quit that, that it makes them look silly and the rest of us cuss, which isn’t good for anyone, so it’s time to either win more games or go somewhere else.

I think they understand that.

@ DanielSWesley Please tell us you’re going to keep the # Royals front office on their toes. Time to start demanding results. # TwitterTuesday

No doubt.

@ Rheff7 am I wrong to think that the “Yost is the problem” theory is way more exaggerated than it should be? # TwitterTuesday

If you are, I’m wrong with you. I believe that fans and media grossly overestimate the importance of big league managers. If you read this blog with any regularity, you’re probably sick of reading that. Specifically, I think that fans and media tend to grossly overestimate the importance and impact of strategic decisions that, more or less, even out over the course of 162 games.

I also think that when you follow one team, it’s easy to forget that EVERYBODY hates their manager at one time or another. Heck, even when the Twins were annually overachieving their way to division titles, a substantial chunk of fans in Minnesota couldn’t stand Ron Gardenhire.

The most important part of a manager’s job isn’t pinch hitting or pulling the starting pitcher. It’s the environment they help create and maintain in the clubhouse. That’s why, after everything, I waited until hearing that players were making fun of Trey Hillman and seeing that they had effectively quit on him to say he should be fired.

Because if Ned is fired, the Royals may or may not bring in someone better. But that new someone isn’t going to magically make Escobar and Moose hit, or Wade Davis become an effective starting pitcher.

@ tijuana_gringo favorite athlete named john? # TT

Starks, Thompson, Elway and Buck — he was always funny.

@ tijuana_gringo best wings in kc not from the peanut? # tt

Let me say first that eating wings in Kansas City that aren’t from the Peanut is a bit like going to Maine during lobster season and getting a chicken sandwich.

But Johnny’s are good. Mac’s, too, if they still have the good stuff.

@ easz88 If you could name the # RoyalBaby, what would you name it and why? # AskingForTrouble # TwitterTuesday # TakingItBack

Well, at least he took it back …

@ m_dunn why do we (Americans) care about # royalbaby and what’s your vote on the name? # TT

… I have no answer for this. Caring about the Royal baby is so stupid, so irrelevant, I have no idea what to tell these people. Or what, if I came into contact with one, we might otherwise have in common^.

^ The preceding message was written by someone who has wasted a shameful amount of time thinking, writing, and talking about chicken wings, Trey Hillman’s unicycle, and beer.

@ ClintT13 Remember when you and a hack St. Joe reporter (me) had to ask prep football coaches about stealing ice cream? That was nonsense.

This is a true story. Eight years ago, in Lawson, two of the local high school football team’s stars were suspended for a playoff game because they stole an ice cream sandwich from the school cafeteria. Someone turned them in, which apparently triggered an automatic suspension for the upcoming game even though one of the player’s mom’s dropped off the $1.25. The town was up in metaphorical arms. The team lost that playoff game something like 50-0.

This is a weird job, is what Clint and I are trying to tell you.

@ YOLO_Muelleman What’s the best Sunday brunch in town?

So, to me, “brunch” is a different thing than “breakfast.” When you say “brunch,” I’m thinking omelet station, Belgian waffles, a buffet. And the answer is the Bristol. A bit pricy, though, so save it for an occasion.

@ kent_swanson Looking forward to finding out who’s “in the best shape of their life” from the Star this week at training camp.

Bet you Jon Baldwin says this. For sure.

To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365, send email to smellinger@kcstar.com or follow twitter.com/mellinger. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

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